The Marcela Trust won't bring home the bacon

[Author's note: this started as a rant about bacon, but the more I dug up, the smellier this seemed. Anyone wanting to chase down the threads here and ask some pointed questions, do feel free.]

According to Consensus Action on Salt and Health we should be eschewing bacon as two rashers of bacon contains over half one's daily salt allowance.

They say that like it's a bad thing:

"For every one gramme reduction in salt intake we can prevent 12,000 heart attacks, strokes and heart failure," said Cash chairman Graham MacGregor.
The RDA of salt (an amount no doubt pulled out from between Mr. MacGregor's tofu-fed gluteus maximus) is 6g. We eat an average of 9g. So if no-one ate more salt than recommended, we'd save 36,000 heart attacks, strokes and heart failures. In a pig's eye.

So who are these Concerned Upstanding National Treasures at CASH?

CASH was set up in 1996 as a response to the refusal of the Chief Medical Officer to endorse the COMA recommendations to reduce salt intake, following the threat of withdrawal of funds by the food industry to the Conservative Party.
"Was set up". I note the use of the passive tense there. "Was set up" by whom, exactly? And who is funding them?
CASH is reliant on voluntary contributions in order to fulfil its expanding role such as running National Salt Awareness Week, producing and distributing resources etc. CASH is unique in its work. The role it performs is not undertaken by any other organisation, so your support is vital.
We are very grateful to The Marcella[sic] Trust and the British Heart Foundation for their continuing support of CASH.
Who are the The Marcela Trust and what do they want?
Could they be any more vague? And, oh look! Income for 2009 was £730K, most of it was spent. Income for 2011 was £0 and £14K was spent. Income for 2010 was £70MM and £800K was spent. WTF? The 2010 accounts confirm that these clowns have a £69MM balance.

It's quite hard to find out any information about what The Marcela Trust does; Google doesn't reveal much, and their entry on the Charities Commission site is rather unhelpful. Interestingly, The Marcela Trust contact address is 14 Buckingham Street, London - the same address as Guardian favourite the Institute for Public Policy Research. Perhaps they are next door neighbours? Or perhaps the IPPR knows more of what The Marcela Trust does than one might expect?

Taking trustee Dawn Pamela Rose as an example, a lady with a remarkably similar name is director of a number of "generic" names, including "OMC Investments Limited", "Camelia Botnar Limited" and (my personal favourite) "QHH Limited". Dawn is listed as living at Park Farm, Saham Hills, Norfolk. Oh look! OMC Investments Limited is also listing 14 Buckingham Street, Westminster as its contact address. What a coincidence. They seem to be into property investments in a big way. I wonder if any of that £70MM in the Marcela Trust accounts came from OMC's investments? Apparently so, according to the accounts:

During the year the Trust received a donation of 95.5% of the share capital of Omarca Investment Holdings Limited. Omarca Investment Holdings Limited is a dormant intermediary holding company which holds 100% of the shares of OMC Investments Limited. OMC Investments Limited's principal activities are property dealing, management, development and investment.
That seems very out of line with the Trust's previous fundraising and spending. I wonder what OMC intend it to be spent on? I note that staff costs (1 manager, 3 administrators) were £290K wages and salaries, plus about 10% of that as pension contributions. "D Lawson" (manager?) was paid over £240K and N Malby (administrator?) gets just over £40K. Nice work if you can get it.

Trustee Mark Robert Spragg from Teddington is a director of Zwischenzug Limited (apparently "Zwischenzug" is a chess tactic) based in Pinner. What do we know about Zwischenzug?

Their current status is 'Company not trading', and their founding director, Norman Mcmillan, has been the director of 2 other companies. Norman Hamilton Mcmillan is the only shareholder of Zwischenzug Limited [...] The company's current net worth is £20, and the value of their shareholders' interest is £20.
Wonder what he uses it for?

Trustee Brian Arthur Groves is a director of the Camilia Botnar Foundation which appears to be a legit and active charity - Dawn Rose's Camilia Botnar Limited company appears to be the same as Camelia Botnar Homes and Gardens which sells things made by the craftsmen and trainees employed by the Foundation. According to the Marcela Trust accounts he has a Guernsey-based company B G Consultants Limited, which is where The Marcela Trust paid him £85K in 2010, and presumably he doesn't have to worry about too much tax there. I'm surprised that the IPPR haven't let their neighbours know their feelings about tax avoidance.

I would be fascinated to learn what's going on with The Marcela Trust, these trustees, and their mesh of companies and charities. In my experience, the more an organisation tries to deflect interest about what it does, the more reason there is for people to ask pointed questions about it. Any journos out there up for a bit of digging around Companies House and doorstepping 14 Buckingham Street, Westminster?


  1. I think it's mainly Octav Botnar's money. The bloke who set up Nissan UK and then ran away with the Revenue chasing him for £250 million....

  2. Thanks Tim; a bit more digging has now produced http://hemiposterical.blogspot.com/2012/09/marcela-trust-part-2.html


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